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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Non-destructive cropping?

Your attorney wants you to crop out a suspect's face for a flyer. You remember that when you've cropped in the past, you weren't able to go back and restore the file to it's original state. The good folks at Adobe have given you the power to do both.

This feature has been around for a while, but it's worth a mention. This method does not work on a background layer. If you are working on a copy of the layer, you're fine. If not, you'll want to convert the background layer to Layer 0. Here's how: Hold the Ctrl and Alt keys down and double click on the layer in the layers palette. You are now ready to proceed.
  1. Select the Crop Tool.
  2. Drag out a crop rectangle.
  3. Notice that the Options bar give you two options for this tool, Delete the cropped area or Hide the cropped area. Select Hide.
  4. Press enter/return or right click within the crop area and select crop.
Cropping in this way give you some new options. First, we can restore the image by selecting Image>Reveal All. Second, we can reposition the cropped image using the Move Tool (V).

Here's the dangerous part. The area cropped out by the Hide option is still there even after you save and reopen the file ... as long as you do not flatten the image.

You may wish to save this cropped file with a unique file name to help you remember that this is a file with a hidden cropped area.

Enjoy the day.

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